'Fee-Free Days' Coming Back to National Parks

Save some cash during April's National Park Week

Visiting national parks will be a little bit cheaper later this month.

The sequester may be on, but the National Park Service have found it in their hearts (and budget) to continue with their schedule of eleven entrance fee-free days this year as planned.

Of the ten remaining, a stretch of five consecutive days from Monday April 22 to Friday April 26 will coincide with Earth Day (April 22) and National Park Week.

Unlike last year, which had 17 free days, the April days will not include weekends. (Pro tip: call in sick with “spring fever.”) Although the reduced schedule is not directly related to budget cuts, said NPS spokesperson  Kathy Kupper to USA Today, the agency loses between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue per free day.

Here are a few suggestions for making the most of these spring days in the national park system without hurting your wallet (as much):

• Thanks to a bit of serendipity for visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park, National Park Week coincides with a full moon. Its famous Full Moon Hikes—normally free—will be doubly so thanks to the waived $25 entrance fee.

• See one of our top spring sights, like calving bison in Yellowstone, migrating birds in Big Bend National Park, and the wildflower-dotted canyons of Colorado National Monument.

• Californians can visit Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks fee-free for spectacular desert hikes at pleasant temperatures.

For the full list of participating parks by state, click here.